“Next” is a new restaurant in Chicago that was started by the same chef as Alinea, which is considered the top restaurant in the country. Every three months, Next closes shop for a few weeks to come up with a new concept more fantastic than the last. This go around, we were so excited to hear their new theme: “Childhood”. After three months of trying to get tickets we got in the last week before they were to revamp for their next theme. We sat down to dinner and were immediately given fresh apple juice and a little gift box. Micheal Jackson’s, “Beat it” played in the background. We were told to open the box and eat the contents in one bite and expect something explosive. The pastry contained a warm liquified version of a pb&j.
It’s all in the sauce. It may sound crazy, but every major holiday all I want is my dad’s flavorful beans and rice. It’s as close to a steak as I’m going to get as a vegetarian. The beans take on the flavor of all the ingredients that slowly simmer in the sauce. My dad originally made his sauce with bacon, which adds a big hit of flavor. When I became a vegetarian, it took a lot of trial and error to get that flavor back. I asked my dad years ago for the recipe and he said there really isn’t one… just a little of this, and a little of that. I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make it my own for 10 years. It is all about intuition and changing it for your taste buds. Here’s my interpretation of my family’s beans and rice.
Breakfast is definitely Dustin’s strong suit. He’s made the usual pancakes, crepes, and an odd looking, but tasty Dutch Baby. Out of all of his breakfast creations I’ve most enjoyed his infatuation with making the perfect waffle. He says he is getting closer and closer. Lately he has been experimenting with a recipe for a specific type of Belgian waffle he read about on a few blogs. We usually make a large quantity of these on a Saturday or Sunday and they come in handy during the week when we are crunched for time. All we have to do is toast them and they are sweet enough to eat without a topping. On weekends I go a little crazy and top mine with powdered sugar, syrup, and homemade whipped cream.